Sunday, December 09, 2012

Trying Things First

In this video, you can see a thoughtful young woman testing a concept. She's trying to settle the age-old question of whether or not one can drink cereal crumbs. Had Bill Gates been thinking about this, there would either be no experiment, or an experiment the results of which meant nothing whatsoever. Once Bill decides he wants something, he tosses some cash at it, and then municipalities are stuck paying for it for decades to come, whether or not it has the remotest validity.

There would simply be a decree from the White House that all teachers must drink cereal crumbs, and that those who didn't drink sufficiently copious amounts would be subject to dismissal. The unions would bicker over how much teachers had to drink, but eventually settle on about half what Bill Gates demanded. Rank and file would get no vote on it, Diane Ravitch would write many blog posts against it, and union leaders would declare we needed to focus on more important issues, like making sure we didn't test the crumbs too much.

Mayor Bloomberg would spend 80 million bucks on a computer program to sort data about the crumbs. The NY papers would run editorials and Meryl Tisch would write op-eds declaring we must enact this immediately because we have no time to waste. Extra time would be added to the school day for cereal crumb drinking, and Pearson would develop mandatory manuals on how and where they must be drunk. And that, perhaps, summarizes the state of all things educational in today's America.

They must be drunk.

And yet here, you can see someone calmly trying to determine whether or not something actually works. She doesn't seem overly concerned with whether or not she needs to impose her findings on the entire country. I have to think, though, that she'd at least wait to discover what said findings were before doing so, had she been thus inclined.

This is pretty much a new and novel concept in today's America.

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